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Monday, 23 July 2012 15:09

PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)

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Article By: Sheldon Scott McArthur

I am a firm believer in maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude or PMA. I have done considerable research on the subject and have endeavored to promote the practice in my daily life. I think it can be a valuable life lesson for everyone and is especially needed when dealing with difficult situations (like a devastating loss). I believe that PMA is an extremely important subject when teaching young people (why do we need to keep a positive attitude especially when faced with adversity).

PMA is a state of mind that can be very empowering. Whether or not you believe that everything happens for a reason (fate), I believe that we, as individuals, have the power to change how we act and/or react to the trials and tribulations thrown within our paths. You have a glass of water that is 50% of capacity; is it half full or is it half empty? The question above is often used as a barometer to see if your general nature leans more
towards being optimistic or pessimistic. I believe that a person’s outlook is primarily a byproduct of their environment. This belief is why it is so important to teach our young people to have a PMA; not only for sports but for later on in their adult lives.

How do we teach young people to develop a PMA? First thing is to understand what exactly it means to have a PMA.

"I can accept failure -- everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." ~ Michael Jordan

PMA is not only an attitude to see the glass as “half full”, but also an understanding that a problem exists and developing a strategy to better the situation. Michael Jordan’s quote is very telling; everyone will fail at something/sometime within their lifetime. There should be no fear of failure, by developing a Positive Mental Attitude we learn to look at failures, not as being “half empty” but as a stepping stone to succeeding! It is very easy to concentrate on a failure and become depressed and/or stressed, with a PMA we understand and accept that setbacks (not failures) will occur and we choose to learn from them in order to lessen the chances of the same setbacks from reoccurring.

Strive to be Consistent. It may be hard to maintain a PMA at all times, even the most ardent practitioner will most likely have lapses in their attitudes. It is important to constantly work to maintain a consistent PMA. Open and honest communication is very important when teaching young people how to realize they have lapsed and how to get themselves back on track. Everyone can be confused and even disillusioned by inconsistent messages. If you have a setback in delivering your message, remember that with a PMA we will learn from our mistakes and look at the positive outlook (turn it around and use it as a teaching tool to discuss the setback with your group- using PMA in action!)

Lead by Example. The best way to get our messages across to young people is to set a positive example. We can only control those things that we can control…. Through the use of PMA we do not dwell on the negative (what is not within our control), we take control of setbacks and change those items that we can control.

"Do what you can… where you are… with what you have." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

It is very important that we put young people in the best possible positions to succeed. It can be equally important that they understand the what, why, when, where, who, and how that lead to the decisions. If we do not provide this information, we are doing a disservice to the student. I believe that it is important for all young people to experience setbacks, especially early in life, so that they can be guided in learning to implement PMA and turn setbacks into learning experiences. In this way the young person is making mistakes in a safe setting and will not have to flounder as an independent young adult in decision making.

"Don't spend your precious time asking "Why isn't the world a better place?"
It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is
"How can I make it better?" To that there is an answer. " ~ Leo Buscaglia


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